Whilst the simple act of actively appreciating the fresh air has a plethora of benefits for everyone tapping into the powerful free resource which is nature, it can be a challenge navigating walking routes as someone with accessibility needs.
As Yorkshire has so many places to get outdoors and active for everyone, we set up Yorkshire Families Magazine to enable people from all backgrounds to explore the best of God’s Own County, including sharing where our team of community reporters, many of whom have disabilities, love to explore.
Our football fanatic sports reporter, Dan, who is on the autistic spectrum, shares his favourite walks. He describes routes ranging from the familiar urban trek from the car park to Elland Road to watch his team play to wandering in the humble perfectly-formed Pontefract Park. He also takes us from the impressive sculptural art “without walls” at Yorkshire Sculpture Park to digging deep at the National Coal Mining Museum.
Here, Dan writes in his own words…
I’m a sports lover, so pre- and hopefully post-Covid, I walked to two main sports stadia to watch my teams:
Leeds United FC – Elland Road
The way I walk to Elland Road starts at the White Rose Shopping Centre car park. I then have to cross a couple of main roads, walk past the Drysalters pub and I eventually get to see Elland Road in the distance. Getting inside Elland Road isn’t too difficult, as I tend to have tickets in the same area: all I do is put the ticket inside the scanner and that allows me in. I haven’t been for a while, so I’ve missed the anticipation and build-up as I’m walking down. I’ve also been missing the spring in my step with my shirt and scarf on, but hopefully next season I’ll feel all these feelings again.
Featherstone Rovers RLFC – Millennium Stadium/Post Office Road
I park in a side street and the ground is only across the road from there. On the walk, I get excited as I’m hopeful for a good game. I haven’t been for a while since Covid came, so I’m looking forward to the day I’m able to go back. Accessibility-wise, you now have to buy a ticket from the reception area, whereas before you used to be able to go to the ticket people. A woman would then scan the ticket and from there, you’re free to go to your seat. I sit in the family stand, so I just have to walk up two lots of stairs and I’m there.
As I’ve not been to matches for a while, I’ve been exploring where else there is to walk in Yorkshire. Fortunately, it’s good to see that there are lots of places in Yorkshire for walking or other activities.
There are many different places in Yorkshire to walk around and I’m going to give a roundup of the places here:
The following places are disabled/wheelchair-friendly
Pugneys Country Park Wakefield
Pugneys Country Park is on Denby Dale Road in Wakefield, just past Toby Carvery pub. It features accessible toilets and showers, based near the Boat House Café, an ice cream van and two lakes. You can also decide how far round you want to walk.
Roundhay Park is in Leeds. Entrances to the park and all paths are wheelchair accessible. Accessible toilets are available in Tropical World Explorers Café, the Visitor Centre and the Education Rooms. There is also an accessible toilet at Lakeside Café.
You can choose the length of walk you go on.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is based in the parks of West Bretton in Wakefield. There’s plenty of access for wheelchairs and you can hop on a shuttle bus.
Pontefract Park is in Pontefract opposite Wickes, McDonalds and Home Bargains. There’s a path inside the race track which is accessible for wheelchairs and is the best route for these.
Cannon Hall Farm
Cannon Hall Farm is based in Barnsley. There is a narrow tarmac path from The Walk, Cawthorne, via the country park, to Cannon Hall Farm, which is accessible by wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Tables and chairs in the area are not fixed and can be rearranged to accommodate wheelchair users.
The Hepworth Gallery is based in Wakefield opposite the Ruddy Duck pub. It has good wheelchair and disabled access with lifts and wide paths inside the museum. The entrance is also at ground floor level.
There are three disabled toilets throughout the building: one on the ground floor, one in Gallery 6 and another in the Learning Studios. All disabled toilets have a functional emergency alarm, coat hooks and wall-mounted rails.
National Coal Mining Museum
National Coal Mining Museum is based in Overton in Wakefield. Underground wheelchair tours are available (though only two spaces are available at a time). The museum is wheelchair accessible and they regularly welcome people who have additional needs. The museum’s Nature Trail does not include any steps, though some parts can be steep, and in wet conditions this may be difficult for wheelchairs. Many of the museum’s buildings are on a single level, but access is facilitated in some places through either a ramp or a lift.
I feel it’s important for me that places are accessible for everyone regardless of whether they have a learning disability or not, as everyone should have the right to go wherever they want.
Some of these places are very good for a day out, and I’m sure the staff at all these places will help you with any enquiries you may have. My favourite places from this list are:
- National Coal Mining Museum
- Pontefract Park
Please let us know if you can think of any other places that may be autism-friendly or accessible.
Read more from Dan here: https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk/2020/12/02/the-top-five-places-to-walk-in-yorkshire/